dVerse wants us to write a poem using the first person. “Perhaps you will leave your reader wondering if you are actually the “person” of if this is a fictional character. I’d like to see you bring an event that may or may not be true. I even challenge you to assume an alter ego and to write a poem in the first person of someone whose point of view and life experience is diametrically opposed to your own. In this way, this will become an exercise, not only in use of the first person to create an intimate portrait of the character, but also a means to stretch your story-telling imagination.”
I came across a triolet I ‘d written a few years ago with a stolen first line from Charles Causley. The poem pleased me on re-reading and I wanted to expand it, so here’s the original with the new one, written as a pair in two different first persons.
I am the song that sings that little bird—
the one just there, the brown one, yellow wings;
the sweetest music I have ever heard.
I am the song that sings a little bird,
the notes so pure, yet trilling. It’s absurd
how hard to quell the sadness when I sing
that lovely song that sings a little bird
to please me, that brown one with yellow wings.
I am the bird that sings that little song
that tells all other males to keep away.
You wonder what I mean, so come along.
I’ll show you how life is in this my song.
We have to show our rivals we are strong
Though we are soft as mush inside, we say
our love, like Mendelssohn ─ no words — in song.
So keep your distance, males. Shoo, stay away.